Going off the beaten track is where you find the real beating heart of a place. And NYC is no exception. Whilst this sprawling, giant city is full of familiar tourist sites and hotspots, it’s also positively brimming with lesser-known things to do. So if you’re a local looking for something new to do, or […]
Going off the beaten track is where you find the real beating heart of a place. And NYC is no exception. Whilst this sprawling, giant city is full of familiar tourist sites and hotspots, it’s also positively brimming with lesser-known things to do. So if you’re a local looking for something new to do, or a first timer to the Big Apple looking for a different type of trip – here are some of the best non-touristy things to do in New York City.
Get lost in the wonderland of Swingers Crazy Golf
Transport yourself to a whimsical playground at Swingers NYC. Expect a lush and lively atmosphere come rain or shine. Start off by taking on one of our three mini golf courses. Nodding to the British 1920s, you can expect immersive theming, unique obstacles, and an overall jolly-good-time. But it’s not just crazy golf here. Indulge in a cheeky libation or two at our stylish cocktail bars (may we recommend the Manhattan Swing), boogie on down to our live DJs, and tuck into a smorgasbord of dishes from local street food vendors. Burgers, pizza, or tacos anyone?
Gallery Hopping in Chelsea
You may be familiar with some of the big name galleries in town, but there are smaller setups known for displaying vibrant and thought-provoking works. Take Taglialatella Galleries. Recognizable from its deep red brick exterior, this gallery is all about modern and contemporary art, with a focus on Pop and Street Art. Started by Dominic Taglialatella, guests can enjoy works by Russell Young, Damien Hirst, and Roy Lichenstien.
Also in Chelsea is the Gladstone Gallery. Founded by namesake curator Barbara Gladstone, this gallery also specializes in modern, contemporary art. Its current exhibitions include sculptural plant installations by Precious Okoyomon. When it comes to the Gladstone, think of a setting that features minimalist white walls, and polished cement floors. Here, the large open-spaces let the artwork do the talking. Great for a cultural afternoon spent in quiet contemplation.
Experience one of NYC’s live comedy shows
Get your giggle on at a live comedy club. There is plenty of comedy to be found throughout New York, so here are our top picks.
Gotham Comedy Club. This is a NYC institution since the mid 90s, having launched comedy stars including Amy Schumer and Trevor Noah. There’s a show every night, so there’s always something on. Here, you can expect up-and-coming comedy talent, as well as local favorites to appear. For TV and film buffs, various comedy specials and movies have been filmed here too, including The Irishman. There’s also delicious pub food on offer, as well as a comprehensive wine and liquor selection. We’ll cheers to that!
The Comedy Cellar dates back to 1981, and has something on every night of the week. An American institution, the Comedy Cellar has seen a huge amount of talent through the years, including Ali Wong, Kevin Hart, Jon Stewart, and Robin Williams. You may recognize the exposed brickwork and wood panel stage from the countless comedy specials taped here. The Comedy Cellar provides an intimate, cozy setting for a night of laughs and fun. Reservations highly recommended.
Kayak at the Brooklyn Bridge
Did you know you could kayak around the Brooklyn Bridge? Did you also know that you can do it for free? Select summer kayaking dates are available for guests to paddle through the East River Estuary. This is the perfect way to see New York from a whole new angle, and is sure to make some lasting memories. All entry levels are welcome – no experience is necessary! Do note that reservations are required before donning your wetsuit and grabbing your paddle.
Walk an Urban Hiking Trail
You might not immediately pair a big concrete city and nature hiking together, but there’s plenty of walking opportunities in New York. You just want to head to one of the city parks. For the options available, explore NYC Parks hiking trails. There are different trials for different experience levels that take place all across the city. Explore all sorts of scenery, including forests, ravines, aqueducts, and the shoreline. Check out up-and-coming events for group walks, volunteering opportunities, and more.
Take a Local Class
One of the best ways to get to know a new place is to find out about its food. And what better way to go about this than a local cooking class? New York is famous for its culinary scene, so there’s plenty of choice out there. Check out CoCuSocial for the latest classes and their availability. Go Italian, Japanese, Peruvian, Mexican, or learn all about mixology with a craft cocktail class. For the creatively curious, check out Happy Medium – a hidden gem art cafe offering a range of classes from pottery, furniture making and figure drawing. Classes cater for a wide range of budgets and tastes, so take your pick and have fun!
Get down at the Central Park roller disco
Get your skates on in Central Park. CPDSA puts on free, open-air roller-skating experiences for the whole family. And best of all, it’s on most weekends. Get in some exercise whilst having fun and meeting friendly folks. There’s even a live DJ! Even if you’re new to roller skating, why not give it a go? Yes you might fall over a couple of times, but we bet you’ll master skater in no time.
Visit the Local Farmers Market
This is something for all the senses. Take in the sights, sounds, smells, and importantly – tastes – at Grand Bazaar NYC. This market is one the oldest and largest in the city, specializing in food and antique treasures. Here, it’s all about the local merchants and sellers. It’s open every Sunday, come rain or shine. Grab a spot of brunch or lunch as you browse through vintage goodies and support local businesses. So take home a special souvenir, and make some food memories at local food stalls and artisans.
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